Swimming and diving teams earn third

Story by Briana Gruenewald

Following an intense month of winter training, the Blugold women and men’s swimming and diving teams picked up third place at the two-day UW-Stevens Point Invitational.

Coach Art Brandt knew the swimmers would be tired going into the invitational, seeing as they practiced twice a day since Dec. 28 with only two full days off.
However, despite being tired, Brandt was pleased overall with the way the invitational ended.

“We did have some really good swims and it seems like people had a good time — that’s important,” Brandt said.

Women’s
Throughout the 41-event competition, the Blugold women racked up a combined 677 points. First place UW-La Crosse earned 1,016 points and second place Steven’s Point earned 845 points. The Blugolds also earned four individual victories and 11 finishes of third or better.

Top performances came from juniors Nicole Dorvinen and Julia Olson.

Dorvinen swam strongly to win the 500-yard freestyle race, 200-yard butterfly event and 1,650 yard freestyle competition. Olson earned the last individual victory in the 50-yard freestyle event.

Senior captain Maddy Smith said the team’s camaraderie and high morale are reasons the team was able to earn third place at the invitational.

“I think it went really well,” Smith said. “It showed how close our team has gotten and that we can swim super fast while
being broken down and tired.”

Men’s
Trailing Steven’s point with 1,133.5 points and La Crosse with 692.5 points, the Blugold men earned 622 points during the invitational and nine finishes of third or better.
Junior Jonathan Poppele earned three second place finishes and sophomore Nick Badilla earned multiple top finishes.

Senior Chris Paradeise said he and the other swimmers only kept swimming better as the invitational progressed.

“Everyone just kept their heads up high,” Paradeise said. “If they had a bad swim, they just shrugged it off and everyone kept trying really hard.”

Looking ahead
The women’s and men’s teams will compete in a dual meet at UW-Whitewater on Saturday. Paradeise said they will prepare by strengthening fundamentals like turns and starts, because he’s noticed other schools are stronger in those areas.

The Whitewater meet will be the last for some swimmers, as not all will be invited to join the conference team, set to compete Feb. 17-19. Coach Brandt said the choosing of the conference team is always fairly stressful for the team.

“It has nothing to do with personality … it unfortunately comes down to points; thinking about who can do the best in each event,” Brandt said. “We just have to find that balance.”

Smith knows the Whitewater meet will be her last, but she still plans on attending the conference meet to cheer on her teammates.